The gift of specialist equipment is a ‘godsend’ in caring for her six-year-old son, says Brockenhurst mum Sarah Brisdion.
Young Hadley has Cerebral Palsy and is unable to sit, stand or walk unaided. He needs a wide range of specialist equipment for his everyday care, but with local statutory services unable to meet some of his needs, family and friends have rallied round to help. But sometimes even this isn’t enough – so Sarah turned to Newlife, the Charity for Disabled Children, for help.
Sarah said: “We discovered Newlife in 2015 when we had just funded a £6,500 wheelchair for Hadley. The wheelchair is brilliant, but sometimes if Hadley is ill or very tired he needs something that he can completely relax in. We still need to get him out and about, for instance to medical appointments. We needed a specialist pushchair for times like this – and Newlife helped us.”
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
She added: “More recently, we needed a standing frame for Hadley to use at home. He has this equipment at school but it is too big to transport home, which impacts on his physiotherapy at weekends and during school holidays. It is essential that Hadley is able to stand every day to reduce stiffness and pain and to increase his mobility and maintain other vital functions like digestion and bone density. During the last summer holidays in particular we noticed how the tightness in his legs increased considerably because he wasn’t able to stand regularly.”
So Sarah contacted Newlife, and a specialist standing frame was delivered just in time for the recent school break. She said: “It’s amazing. Hadley’s physiotherapist has recommended that he uses the stander for an hour before going to bed to help alleviate some of the pain he experiences at night. And now we have this equipment at home we can incorporate physiotherapy into some of the fun things he likes to do during the day, without him even realising it is physio.
“Hadley isn’t mobile at the moment but the long-term aim is that he will have some ability to stand without such comprehensive equipment – the stander is vital for putting in the ground work.”
Newlife provided the specialist pushchair and standing frame through its Equipment Grants service. The charity also works with families to offer Emergency Equipment Loans, often within 72 hours of an application being made, a Play Therapy Pod service for those with complex needs and Comfort Capsules so families of terminally ill children can make memories together.
Newlife has supported 432 families in Hampshire, with equipment totalling £644,063. For more details about how Newlife supports families in the area, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/hampshire.
Right now, the charity is working with a further 21 families in the county with equipment needs of £56,154. If you think you can help, go to the website and donate. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, [email protected]
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Hampshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Hadley Brisdion